parkrunday: Town Moor #618

Back to Town Moor last Saturday for the monthly pacer week and hence my final fast effort before the marathon.

Still unhindered! Photo from Town Moor parkrun Facebook page.

I felt a bit fatigued due to taper lethargy, but it was generally going quite well until we had to run into the easterly wind along Grandstand Road, Storm Kathleen making its arrival known! Still, I managed to hang on to the end and was only four seconds slower than my course PB. Another consistent effort so I was quite pleased.

This coming weekend’s parkrun will NOT be a fast effort – just a nice gentle shakeout and a bit of tourism before marathon day!

Phone Box Thursday: B4396, Llanyblodwel

This is the next phone box from Mum and Dad’s trip to Wales last year. Unfortunately I can’t tell you much about it as Facebook Messenger (where Dad sends all the photos) is a little buggy tonight – I can get the pictures off it but it won’t show the accompanying messages! I may update this post once that particular tech issue gets sorted.

Red phone box
Red phone box, B4396, Llanyblodwel, 19th September 2023.

(Coordinates 52°79’96.3″N, 3°12’10.3″W.)

It’s a fairly remote location so I expected there would still be a phone in this box, but sadly not.

We continue onwards next week!

Race Recap: North Tyneside 10k 2024

The final B race of the spring marathon training block!

This was my first 10k race since Leeds Abbey Dash last October, and my parkrun times have improved by a few minutes since then – so I expected a PB, even though I’m not in ideal 10k shape at the moment given all the marathon training miles in my legs. The hope was that I would knock two or three minutes off my Leeds time (which was 54:23), giving me a good benchmark for going into my summer 10k races and hopefully getting a sub-50 time by July.

As is generally the case at the moment, the logistics were almost more anxiety-inducing than the actual race – especially given that the clocks were going forward the night before – and so I didn’t sleep well. I arrived at the Metro station early, which was for the best, given that the train was also eight minutes earlier than advertised! I’d have had to wait another half hour if I hadn’t caught it, which would have made it very tight to get to the bag drop in time.

As it happened, though, I had plenty of time, and after dropping my bag was able to find all my TMBR clubmates and chat for a while before the start.

North Tyneside 10k
In the sports centre before the race. Photo from Izzy at TMBR.

We got a bit split up heading to the start, but Ed and I were able to get fairly close to the front, meaning we were over the start line about half a minute after the gun – though there was still a lot of weaving to be done for the first couple of miles. I focused on feel, trying only to look at my watch on mile splits. The pace was quick but comfortable to settle into, and I overtook Ed about two miles in, after which I concentrated on trying to keep up with people in front. I’d run the North Tyneside route on a couple of long slow marathon training runs recently, and so it was fresh in my mind, though of course racing it feels very different to plodding it!

North Tyneside 10k
My form is a little better than it used to be. Photo from Coastal Portraits by John Fatkin.

Ed then overtook me again at around the five-mile mark, and so I focused on keeping up with him for the last mile. It was getting hard and so it was good to have someone to chase! I kept up right until the final turn onto the finish straight at the lighthouse, then I sprinted – or tried to, anyway, I didn’t have much energy left! On the finish line I was amazed to find that my watch read 49:35 (49:34 official chip time). I’d managed the sub-50 that I hadn’t expected until later in the year! Ed was just a second behind me to the line (we got the same chip time) so it was nice to finish another race together after the ultra a fortnight ago. We got our bags and waited for the others to finish so that we could have the traditional celebration photos.

North Tyneside 10k
T-shirts are a very bright spring colour again! Photo from Chelsea at TMBR.

I couldn’t have asked for more from this race. I’m absolutely floored to have got my 2024 target 10k time already, and now I don’t really know what to aim for when I’m specifically targeting 10k races in the late spring/early summer… just keep trying to chip away at the PB, I suppose!

This race has also been a real measure of how far I’ve come in the last couple of years. When I first did it in October 2021 (the version originally scheduled for Easter 2020 and postponed three times), I had a bad day with my spondylitis and dragged a dead, painful leg round in 1:20:18. My second attempt in April 2023 was a good day with no symptoms, but that was still purely down to luck (it was the following month that I would start on the medication that has rid me of the chronic pain and has finally allowed me to train properly for the last ten and a half months). I finished the 2023 race in 1:05:07 and was thrilled – it was my second fastest 10k race to date at that time – but the fact that I’ve been able to take more than 15 minutes off my course time in the space of less than a year is mindblowing.

Onto the final couple of weeks before the marathon, then. All my excuses for avoiding thinking about it yet are well and truly gone, and the first nerves are starting to hit. Onwards we go.

parkrunday: Jesmond Dene #152

I volunteered this last parkrunday as I had a Sunday race, so a nice jog to the parkrun start was enough of a run for me!

I was on finish tokens, which is one of my favourite roles – being part of the funnel team feels like you’re right at the centre of things as people finish, and the busy periods are quite exciting.

No picture as I was too busy with the tokens! Back to running next week and my last fast effort before the marathon…